Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

Singer and songwriter David Wills received his huge break in Lakeland.

by Matt Wright

I’ve all the time beloved Paul Harvey’s tales. How he untangled somebody’s previous and defined why that ought to matter to his listeners. Or, as he would famously say on the finish, “now you realize the remainder of the story.” David Wills, a rustic musician and songwriter with 5 a long time within the enterprise, has an identical story. And that story wouldn’t have a starting with out Lakeland.

Mr. Wills, who referred to as me from Nashville on Thursday morning to speak about his profession and new album, instantly requested about Lakeland. He was curious what had modified since he was final right here in 1974. “Fairly a bit,” I mentioned. Mr. Wills, who’s initially from Pulaski, TN mentioned with out Lakeland, particularly a expertise present that was held on the previous Lakeland amusement park in 1974, his life may need been totally different. He mentioned wanting again it was “only a God factor” as a result of he didn’t even have the cash essential to enter the competition. “I used to be residing in Memphis and dealing within the males’s division of (Park’s) Belk. I used to be enjoying some native golf equipment in Southaven (MS) and locations like that. I came upon concerning the expertise present in Lakeland however I didn’t have the $15 to enter so my neighbors paid the payment for me,” he mentioned. That Lakeland expertise present is the place Mr. Wills’ life modified eternally.

David Wills has been within the nation music enterprise for practically 5 a long time. Picture courtesy Wesley Fricks.

Not solely did David please the gang that evening in Lakeland, however he additionally impressed a gentleman by the title of Sy Rosenberg who was in attendance. Mr. Rosenberg was a long-time lawyer in Memphis, however he was additionally the supervisor for one more well-known nation musician, Charlie Wealthy. “After I used to be finished performing on the expertise present a person carrying an enormous cowboy hat and smoking what appeared like a foot-long cigar got here as much as me,” Mr. Wills recalled. That man was Sy Rosenberg. “He requested me if I needed to be a star and I mentioned inform me the place to signal!” Inside a few weeks, David Wills was signed to Epic Data and nearly instantly began touring the nation with Charlie Wealthy and enjoying in locations like Madison Sq. Backyard.

In 1975 David moved to Nashville however continued touring as a gap act for Charlie Wealthy and plenty of others, enjoying his hit music like There’s a Tune on the Jukebox, which was his first high 10 hit file in America. However a mid-air collision with one other aircraft in 1986 made him need to get off the street. “Fortunately, we survived that airplane collision, however the different aircraft didn’t,” he mentioned. “I made the choice to get off the street and actually dedicate myself to songwriting.” That dedication to songwriting, alongside along with his songwriting companion Invoice Shore, has created a few of the high nation songs you’ve heard over the past 40 years. He’s written songs for legendary nation performers like George Strait, John Schneider (Bo from Dukes of Hazard), Keith Whitley, John Michael Montgomery, Patty Loveless, Sawyer Brown, and extra. He even wrote one for a man you may need heard of, Garth Brooks. “Invoice and I wrote a tune referred to as Wild Horses that a number of of the highest performers needed to file,” he mentioned. When Garth Brooks heard the tune he informed David, “When you maintain that tune for me, I promise I’ll put that on my subsequent album,” David agreed, and Wild Horses ended up a success for Garth Brooks promoting 24 million data worldwide.

After 5 a long time Mr. Wills continues to be recording music at this time. His new album The Singer The Songwriter is now obtainable. Picture courtesy Wesley Fricks.

Being each a singer and a songwriter, David needed to return to his roots as a performer. He simply launched a brand-new album, appropriately referred to as The Singer The Songwriter. “I recorded all my previous hits with all the A group gamers right here in Nashville,” he mentioned. His bonus observe on the brand new album, Poor Boys, is already doing nicely and he thinks music followers will benefit from the album. “I believe folks will likely be happy after they hear it,” he mentioned. You should purchase the album on his web site,, or you’ll be able to stream it on all the favored music providers like iTunes and Amazon.

After half-hour on the decision, I didn’t really feel like I used to be adequately overlaying Mr. Wills’ life within the nation music enterprise. “You might write a e-book,” I mentioned. “Oh, belief me we’re simply scratching the floor on tales I might inform,” he mentioned. Possibly he’ll write a e-book sooner or later, I don’t know. One factor I do know, none of it could have occurred if he had not entered a expertise present in Lakeland, TN in 1974.

And now you realize the remainder of the story.


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